Talk:Walter Block

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TheBlacklarl exchange[edit]

Some idiot named Dick Clark keeps on writing false information about my colleague Walter Block. Please keep him off the board.

What kind of "false information"? What are your sources for the "correct" information? -Willmcw 05:30, 15 December 2005 (UTC)

My source is that I know Walter Block...how about that buddy?

I too know Walter Block. I worked with him all semester here at the Mises Institute. In fact, I helped him move into his Auburn apartment when he came here after hurricane Katrina. Dick Clark 18:26, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I just emailed Walter asking him whether or not he ever worked for Business Week. Should have an answer fairly soon. Dick Clark 16:10, 16 December 2005 (UTC)


As you can all see, the user DickClarkMises has made numerous comments regarding me. I will not insult him here because I do not want to be kicked off of Wikipedia. Please just know that I see things very differently from him. Again, my name is Sean Christopher Marinara and I am a college student at Holy Cross. Dr. Block used to teach here, and I learned about him through that. My friends and I are all libertarians. We have personal information about Dr. Block that we learned from his former colleagues here at Holy Cross. When I tried to post this information, some users, including DickClark, deleted it. The information is 100% true. I ask that you please carefully consider the situation before making any decisions which might be considered rash. (unsigned comment by User:Theblacklarl)

I don't see any insults is that what you were implying? I do note that you called Dick an idiot. I also note from the e-mails with Block and his wife, below, that Dick was correct re the Canadian citizenship. You need to stop calling people liars (on your user page). Your own edits will be judged on our ability to verfiy the information. A perfect example of your ambiguous edits is the recent addition where you mention that Block has won numerous awards in his field. While this may be true the word numerous is vague. Which awards? When was he awarded such awards? Do you have a source that inspired this statement? If so, post the source other wise such comments will be deleted. Other users are not trying to censor your edits but we will not trust edits with yourself as the primary source. That is just common sense. David D. (Talk) 18:27, 26 December 2005 (UTC)

Fact-checking with Dr. Block[edit]

I was curious about the Business Week claim, as well as the correctness of the disputed bit about his citizenship, so, as I mentioned above, I emailed Walter Block and asked him to settle these questions. Please find our correspondence below:

From: Dick Clark <cro..@gm...>    Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: Walter Block <wb...@ya..>
Date: Dec 16, 2005 10:08 AM
Subject: Business Week

Walter,

Excuse the inquiry, but, for the purposes of Wikipedia, may I ask you whether or not you have 
ever worked for Business Week? There is an individual who is claiming that you did, and I am 
trying to either substantiate or debunk his position.

Kind regards,

Dick Clark

Auburn District Chairman, Libertarian Party of Alabama
http://www.auburn.edu/libertarian 
------
From: Walter Block <wb...@ya...>  Signed-By: yahoo.com | Mailed-By: yahoo.com
To: Dick Clark <cr..@gm...>
Date: Dec 16, 2005 12:56 PM
Subject: Re: Business Week

I did indeed work for BW. Here's an entry on my cv:

6/74-8/76 Consulting economist for Tax Foundation,
Business Week Magazine, Community Housing Improvement
Program, Coalition to Save New York, Charles Koch
Fellowship

I even wrote an article for them on Austro
libertarianism:

Block, Walter. 1974. “The Austrian School's advice:
'Hands off!” Business Week Magazine, 3 August, pp.
40-41.

It's got a picture of Murray, Izzy and Walter Grinder.

who claimed that I worked for BW?
------
From: Dick Clark <cro...@gm...>   Mailed-By: gmail.com
To: Walter Block <wb...@ya...>
Date: Dec 16, 2005 2:15 PM
Subject: Re: Business Week

Walter,

A fellow who claims to be a former student of yours named Sean C. Marinara was the provider of 
that information. He says that he studied with under you at Holy Cross. When he first began 
editing your entry and Lew Rockwell's entry on Wikipedia, he initially claimed to be a colleague 
of yours, then claimed to be you, and is now giving us the above name. He is very angry with me 
and other editors over our removal of some poorly worded and sourced additions of his to the Lew 
Rockwell entry. He inserted the following in Lew's blurb:

"CRITICISM: Although this true statement may be deleted, I will make it anway. Rockwell has 
been identified as a racist and anti-semite by the Southern Poverty Law Center."

Now, I would say that the SPLC makes some pretty outrageous claims designed to bolster their 
subscription numbers for their Intelligence publication, but this particular claim about Lew has 
on Wikipedia been an oft-submitted and oft-debated one. Wikipedia policy requires that 
contributions (particularly controversial ones) be sourced for easy verification, and, thus far, 
no sources have been cited in which the SPLC directly labels Lew with the "racist" or "anti-
semite" epithets. Thus Mr. Marinara's contributions have been removed in many cases for lack 
of a source.

I was personally suspect of his contributions to your article, which is why I emailed you with 
regards to the Business Week assertion. There was no reason why that tidbit seemed obviously 
wrong, but without sourcing it wasn't suitable for wikipedia inclusion. Your c.v. will serve 
nicely as a source for that.

There was also a question as to whether or not you had been granted Canadian citizenship, with 
some asserting that you may have received such on 27 November 1991, and others vehemently 
denying that you were a citizen of any country other than the US. If you could enlighten me on 
this, that would be most helpful as well.

Thank you for your speedy reply to my previous message!

In Liberty,

Dick Clark
------
From: Walter Block <wb...@yah...> Signed-By: yahoo.com | Mailed-By: yahoo.com
To: Dick Clark <cro...@gm...>
Cc: mb..@sha...
Date: Dec 16, 2005 3:17 PM
Subject: Re: Business Week

Dear Dick:

I am a Canadian citizen, and also a US citizen. I don't remember the date. My wife might, so 
I'm copying her on this.

Best regards,

Walter
------
From: Walter Block <wb...@ya...>  Signed-By: yahoo.com | Mailed-By: yahoo.com
To: Mary Beth Block <mb...@sh...>
Cc: cro...@gm...
Date: Dec 16, 2005 10:51 PM
Subject: RE: Business Week

thanks.

Mary Beth Block <mb..@s...> wrote:

> Yes, Walter, I checked and Nov. 27, 1991, was the
> date you became a Canadian
> citizen.

Evidence is clear--Rothbard no longer significant[edit]

Looking at the Journal of Libertarian studies' ranking of the most influential economists, one can see that Murray Rothbard is no longer considered significant among leading libertarian economists. He fell off the top 10 ranking 2 years ago and has not been back since. Again, I urge you to see the Journal of Libertarian Studies' ranking of the 10 Most Influential Libertarian Economists.

Murray Rothbard is considered significant enough for inclusion in Wikipedia, hence the continued existence of an entry about him. With that said, I cannot find the JLS article to which you refer above. I have a complete collection of the JLS on hand (since my employer, the Ludwig von Mises Institute is the publisher of the journal, we keep a full collection in our library, of which I am head librarian). I would very much appreciate it if you can refer me to the issue that you are citing above. Frankly, though, the significance of Rothbard to libertarians is not important to this article about Walter Block. What is more important is Murray's significance to Walter. Walter credits Murray as being a great influence on his own ideological/professional development, as well as his valued friend, in his tribute to Murray here[1]. Dick Clark 17:42, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
His contributions to economics alone are remarkable. As Dean of the Austrian School of Economics -- 
a school more uncompromising in its defence of the free market that its more well known rival, the 
Chicago School -- Rothbard is best known for his books Man, Economy and State, Power and Market, and
America's Great Depression. Ranging over almost every category of the dismal science -- from utility
theory to business cycles, from monopoly to public goods, from economic history to the history of 
economic thought, from monetary to trade, from banking to methodology and much much more -- Rothbard
made a significant mark in each...

In any just world, he would have long ago been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics, and similar 
accolades in every other scholarly field he addressed. He would have taught at a prestigious 
graduate school. His writings would have graced all of the leading academic journals. In the present
one, however, this was not to be. He languished for years teaching engineers at Brooklyn Polytechnic
Institute, and only for the last decade at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas...

After knowing Murray for a short time in the mid 1960s, I had changed my mind on quite a few things.
How did it happen? I would spend an afternoon reading something of Murray's, for example, Man 
Economy and State; suddenly, I realized that I would see the great man that very night. A sort of 
cognitive dissonance would seize me. Was I, insignificant worm that I was, really going to see the 
great man that night? It seemed impossible. Somehow, I had to make myself worthy of such a 
great honor...

I fear, intense young lad that I was at that time, that I was a bit of a trial for him. Somehow, he 
put up with me. It was only many years later that I realized he only wanted to be friends. He would 
like me even if I didn't pester him incessantly on every jot and tittle of learning I could think 
of. But how could you be friends with someone you admired so much? Full of hubris, I once called 
Murray, wanting to compare productivity levels, one writer with another. Forget about quality; I 
knew there was no contest there. I just wanted to see how my best day so far (23 double spaced 
typewritten pages) stacked up against his average output. His exact response to my query as to his 
typical daily productivity -- I remember this as if it had occurred yesterday -- was: "Mhrech, 
mhrech! Who keeps count? Leave me alone."

I wonder what is the worth of a top 10 list with regard to significance anyway. Given there is a term Rothbardian it seems his contributions must have been extremely significant. There is no doubt his influence on Block was huge.

See the following inteview with Block. When asked "Your personal recollection of Murray Rothbard and libertarian movement's early years? " Block answered:

"Murray was the person most influential on my (professional) life. I remember him with affection and a bit of awe. I was amazed that such a great man would have time for me, let alone would actually be my friend."

Of course if Blacklarl trusts his list over Blocks opinion who am I to question such a list. David D. (Talk) 17:55, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

"Numerous awards"[edit]

As I have made clear before, I am a big fan of Walter and his work. Nonetheless, such a nebulous claim as "Professor Block, the winner of numerous awards in his field, is noted among Columbia University's most distinguished alumni" is not up to snuff for Wikipedia. "Numerous" is a vague term that smacks of POV-pushing (seems to try to magnify Block's importance beyond the simple factual information). Who notes that Block is among Columbia's most distinguished alumni? I found such a notation on the website for the Columbia libertarian student group here [2], but that hardly seems notable enough for wikipedia inclusion. Block's c.v. is found here [3], and does indeed list 20 awards of sorts (including mostly fellowships, research grants, and scholarships). Whether these are important to the Block article I am not sure, but a vague mention of "numerous awards" will only be seen as blatant promotion by most readers. Dick Clark 18:10, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

I agree. I mentioned this above but it may have got lost in the Canadian citizen comments. Above i wrote:
A perfect example of your ambiguous edits is the recent addition where you mention that Block has won numerous awards in his field. While this may be true the word numerous is vague. Which awards? When was he awarded such awards? Do you have a source that inspired this statement? If so, post the source other wise such comments will be deleted. Other users are not trying to censor your edits but we will not trust edits with yourself as the primary source. That is just common sense.
For me, grants, fellowships and scholarships do NOT count as awards. Awards are usually from professional societies or, ironically, governments. I wonder if Block has recieved but refused awards due to his politics? Regardless, Blacklarl needs to come up with a source otherwise that sentence should be cut. David D. (Talk) 18:38, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
Daycd: You are quite right that you pointed this problem out above. To save folks from waiting for Block's rather long c.v. .pdf to load, I will list the awards that may rightly be called such (i.e., those "awards" that were not recurring fellowships, scholarships, grants, etc.).
  • Sir Anthony Fisher International Memorial Book Competition; First Place Award for Economics and the Environment: A Reconciliation, The Atlas Economic Research Foundation (1991)
  • Freedom’s Foundation Leavey Award for Excellence in Private Enterprise Education ($7,500); Holy Cross College Teaching Award (1997)
  • Holy Cross Faculty Marshal for Commencement Exercises; awarded to those who make a significant contribution to the educational experience of the senior class (1997)
  • Southwestern Business Deans’ Association Innovative Achievement Award for “Student Writing and Publication Program” (1998)
  • Honorable Ron Paul, Member, United States Congress, Texas, Liberty in Media Award (2002)
While it may be the case that some or all of the above awards are notable enough for wikipedia inclusion, it is certainly not the case that "numerous" is an appropriate description of their number. Any reader who saw "numerous" would likely be left with the impression that more than five awards were at issue. I am removing the mention of "numerous awards", and will leave it to others to indicate the community consensus on whether to include any of the above awards.Dick Clark 19:59, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
Some of these are rather minor, for example the "Holy Cross Faculty Marshal". Perhaps a more generic phrase would be more accurate. "He has been formally recognized for his excellence as an educator"? Or something like that. -Willmcw 21:51, 27 December 2005 (UTC)
Frankly, I am not of the opinion that any of the above awards merit a mention in the article. Dick Clark 23:43, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

"Among Columbia University's most distinguished alumni"[edit]

Theblacklarl: Could you please cite a notable source verifying that "Professor Block is noted among Columbia University's most distinguished alumni"? I agree with you that he is among the most distinguished alumni (MN Rothbard graduated from Columbia also, btw), but we need an appropriate source to make such a claim on wikipedia. Please see Wikipedia:Verifiability.Dick Clark 22:57, 6 January 2006 (UTC)

TMI[edit]

Although I do think that significant hobbies are worth noting in biographies, especially in very notable people, in less notable instances the matter of verifiability comes up. How do we know that Block belongs to this or that social club? Or that he likes terriers vs spaniels, or chess versus checkers? Even if Block himself edited this page it wouldn't be verifiable by other editors, unless weekend visits are included. Let's cool it on the personal information that is unverifiable by non-social means. I'm sure the subject would rather be known for his published works.-Will Beback 10:31, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

Again, how do we know what clubs Block belongs to? -Will Beback 00:11, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 16:24, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Notable?[edit]

This article doesn't cite a single reliable source other than publications of the LvMI, an organization with which he's closely associated. That's a serious problem, is it not? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Binarybits (talkcontribs) 21:01, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Block is famous for his short popular book _Defending the Undefendable_ (which hasn't been out of print since it was originally published), for being Ron Paul's chief Economics adviser (a current event), and for his substantial body of publications. Of course you know all this. You work for Cato and probably know several of his friends there. Instead you are asking it because you seem to have a history of net-stalking libertarians affiliated with institutes that are not Cato. The morgawr (talk) 03:36, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

that's interesting. the part about being paul's adviser needs to be added somewhere. Bob A (talk) 03:48, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry I wasn't familiar with the guy's work, although it's quite possible we know some of the same people. But I think my point still stands. If he's famous, there should be reliable sources attesting to his fame, no? Binarybits (talk) 04:54, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I find it incredible that you don't actually know who Block is. Palmer, Pilon, Barnett, and many other "big names" at Cato clearly do (even if they don't always have nice things to say about him.) Block is a famous (and extremely controversial) libertarian. Witness, e.g., the massive blog-war between him and Randy Barnett debating Barnett's piece about Paul in the NY Times. The name calling between Palmer and the people on the LRC blog, etc. All of this turns up on google, and comes up on casual conversation with any "big name" libertarian thinker (e.g. a few weeks ago when I had dinner with Randy Barnett and his wife.) That you are totally oblivious to the nasty sniping that goes on between Block (and other LvMI people) and many of Cato's big names is an amazing, but plausible, claim; that you don't even know who Block is, is simply not believable. The morgawr (talk) 06:26, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm certainly aware that there's bad blood between some Cato people and some LvMI people. I've just never had the occasion to read Block's work. I know who Randy Barnett is, but I don't read the Volokh Conspiracy regularly, (Reading VC would be a full time job) so I missed that particular flamewar. Look, I was in 3rd grade when Block's book came out. Maybe if I were older, I would have been more familiar with his work, but I just haven't had occasion to read any of it. Binarybits (talk) 14:47, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
Oops, my mistake: "Defending the Undefendable" came out before I was born. So it's definitely not that surprising that I wasn't familiar with it. Binarybits (talk) 15:19, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Is this guy notable? The article is just about entirely referenced to primary and affiliated sources, except for the newspaper article about his "furor" and there's no clear indication that Block meets the test for inclusion in WP. At some point if sources cannot be found and notability established, this looks like a candidate for AfD. SPECIFICO talk 00:18, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

You might tag it with {{Notability|Bio|date=July 2013}} – ({{Notability}}). – S. Rich (talk)
feel free. SPECIFICO talk 00:33, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
A notability tag would put the article into various "hidden" categories and thus serve to alert editors who are interested in such matters. I doubt that an AfD would result in deletion, but the nomination would certainly attract attention of interested editors. I do not care to sponsor a doomed AfD, or tag for notability. I will tweak this TP a bit more, a bit later. – S. Rich (talk) 00:40, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Atheist?[edit]

Yes, he is. To the user who removed that category from the article, please read this (not the first time he has said it):

http://www.lewrockwell.com/block/block103.html

"Such is my own position. I reject religion, all religion, since, as an atheist, I am unconvinced of the existence of God. Indeed, I go further. I am no agnostic: I am convinced of His non-existence."

Good enough for you? If you like I can add this to the article user:Pzg_ratzinger —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.139.149.252 (talk) 20:49, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, that would be good enough. All categories must be based on sources in the article. Thank you for properly sourcing the assertion that you inserted. DickClarkMises (talk) 02:18, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

Free State Project endorsement significant?[edit]

I don't really see Block's endorsement of the Free state project as notable. Maybe if he was in someway connected with the FSP, but from what we have the man has only said two sentences related to them. I think this should at least be rolled into another section. Anyway, the only citation for this is from the FSP; so is it really notable? Our enemy, the state (talk) 05:39, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Serious updating needed[edit]

Dr. Block is the most prolific libertarian author alive. He has literally hundreds of articles published in scholarly journals on libertarianism, economics, and other subjects. This article lists hardly anything. He has a forthcoming book which should be listed. He has been involved in a very public controversy which is still ongoing. That too should be explained. In short, it's time for some serious updating to this page. Any volunteers? Ikilled007 (talk) 09:27, 11 May 2009 (UTC)


Slave Contract[edit]

That whole Slave Contract paragraph seems pretty esoteric. i'm not particularly well versed in Libertarian philosophy, so as a lay person, i look at that and think, "why was this deemed important enough to belong in this article?", at least without some further explanation of how it fits in with overall libertarian thought. the last thing a wikipedia article should be is esoteric. this discussion page seems pretty dead in any event so i doubt i'll get an answer and the passage will remain, confusing the hell out of people for years to come. User: anon 13:51, 21 Dec 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.199.194.35 (talk)

You don't think that a "libertarian" defending slavery is not worthy of note? Interesting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.40.192.31 (talk) 14:15, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Aspen Institute[edit]

Sorry, I don't really know how all of this wikipedia stuff works, so excuse any mistakes I make. This wikipedia page stated that he was on the board of directors of the Aspen Institute. I emailed Walter about his association with the Aspen Institute and he told me that he had never worked with them before. The statement was not referenced, so I deleted it. If anyone reposts it, please reference it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wikieditor12 (talkcontribs) 02:43, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Evictionism[edit]

If Dr. Block's unique view on Slave Contract is worthy enough for inclusion on his WikiPedia article, his unique view on abortion should be included as well. I'm happy to start this section, but (because I'm a newbie on Wikipedia) I thought I'd open it for discussion first. Jtropeano (talk) 17:47, 31 January 2012 (UTC)

Negative Homesteading[edit]

We should add a subsection listing all the ideas unique to or popularized by Walter, such as the homesteading of misery, evictionism, etc. There is no mention of Negative Homesteading in the Homesteading article or in this one. dbabbitt (talk) 20:12, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

Economist?[edit]

I see a lot of unsourced fan-club style trivia in this hagiography, about Block's being a varsity member of the college swim team, graduating summa cum laude from college, and forging momentous friendships with Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. And I see a lot of POV-laden guff about Block's "major contributions"; a lengthy section which includes s"negative homesteading" and "highway privatization". However, throughout this over-long and indulgent article, I see no evidence that Block has produced any contributions to economics which would make him notable as an "economist" (as opposed to an anarchist theorist and pundit, for which the notability case if much more serious). Can someone comb through the "Publications" section to see if these consist of actual (scientific/empirical) economics articles, as opposed to "the usual" from the Mises crowd: pseudo-philosophy dressed up as economics.Steeletrap (talk) 00:51, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Need more secondary sources[edit]

Please see Wikipedia:Primary_sources#Primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_sources and Wikipedia:BLP#Misuse_of_primary_sources. Also see Talk:Gary_North_(economist)#Clarification_on_Wikipedia_rules_on_.22Primary_Sources.22 recent discussion here. Hopefully, it does not have to be repeated all over again here. User:Carolmooredc 16:13, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Section on productivity of women/blacks[edit]

Empirical evidence on wage gap[edit]

Many thanks to User:Carolmooredc for expanding on Block's response from the RS. To ensure neutrality, I think we need to note that the evidence indicates (per studies such as Altonji, Joseph G. and Rebecca M. Blank (1999), Blau, Francine D. & Lawrence M. Kahn (1997), and Wood, Robert G., Mary E. Corcoran, and Paul Courant. 1993.) that the wage-gap substantially shrinks but persists when controlled for personal choices (amt of household work one does; one's marital status;) and all other relevant correlates (education, grades, etc). We can make this assertion without WWP:SYN by simply asserting the facts without drawing a connection to Block's views. Without making this assertion, we violate WP:NPOV by presenting Block's "statistical" assertions uncritically. Steeletrap (talk) 17:12, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

I think we need a WP:BLP on this topic generally of inserting material into articles to disprove claims. (Did general one here mentioning three articles.) I could run through all the mainstream economists who don't have Nobel Prizes countering what they say with quotes from Hayek or those quoting Hayek but that would be equally bogus. User:Carolmooredc 18:04, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Carol, your contributions to wikipedia are welcome, including at ANIs. I learned a lot from your remarks on the BLP SYN thread, which I appreciate as a noob! I agree, for instance, with your remark that we need an RS addressing Block directly regarding his erroneous assertion on the wage gap. Steeletrap (talk) 07:40, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
However, per advice by other users, please remember re-read diffs carefully and make sure you are following policy before contributing to Wikipedia. The BLP thread has two glaring errors: first, your original post did not include any specific content; had not picked up the pieces, your complaint would not have been addressed. Second, Murray Rothbard is dead; therefore not a BLP situation. Steeletrap (talk) 07:32, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Sub-section of viewspoints?[edit]

It's clear to me, per the text of the section and the focus of the RS that sources it, that the main point of the section relates to the "furor." Block's (erroneous, although per SYN we cannot note this) statistical assertions only come in response to the "backlash." Therefore it should have its own section. Steeletrap (talk) 17:12, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

I did note on adding Block article there was a brouhaha. I have quoted this WP:BLP policy: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives: the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment.. Wikipedia is not here to blow minor academic debates into huge brouhahas. I won't debate this further but if you want a separate section on this we can just take it to WP:BLPN and get others to come here and opine. (After we finish the current issue above.) User:Carolmooredc 17:45, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

NPOV rendition of section[edit]

Per this diff] lets keep things in Chrono order to avoid an argumentative POV;put back dropped refs; remove wp;undue comments). FYI, User:Specifico wrote below: What's the point of a re-insertion of something that's been challenged for valid cause?... Anyway I think it's best to stick to BRD on these problematic articles..." User:Carolmooredc 00:39, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Hi Carol. I agree with your concern regarding NPOV. On that note, I added the given explanation of the economics department for why they regarded Block's views to be "erroneous." I also added more context (per the Gil RS) about Block's remarks on the speech. (Including his two proposed theories for why "black productivity" is as it is.) Finally I made sure that everything was in proper chronological order. Steeletrap (talk) 19:59, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Probably most of the other sections could be expanded to a similar length. (Assuming secondary sources can be found in some cases.) How about working on such sources so the whole sections don't have to be removed per WP:BLP? I'm busy elsewheres. User:Carolmooredc 20:38, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Why no Sub-section or section devoted to controversy?[edit]

On another note, it seems odd that this controversy over Block's views doesn't even merit a sub-section (or full section). It seems to me that the "furor" (in the words of the RS) is what makes Block's views in this regard notable. It was a pretty big brouhaha, with officials at both Block's university and the one he was lecturing at, as well as the economics department of Loyola college baltimore, rushing to condemn him. Far from being a "local newspaper", the New Orleans Times-Picayune is the premier newspaper of the region, both in prestige (Pulitzer prizes) and circulation. Block's half-dozen articles and "Lew Rockwell show" appearance dedicated to the "controversy", and invocation of strident rhetoric about "proceeding ever more boldly" against "evil", makes me think he agrees it was a big deal too. With much more RS material out there on the "controversy", I wonder whether you all think this matter deserves its own section? Steeletrap (talk) 19:33, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Because WP:Biographies of living persons ("BLP"s) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives: the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment... The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests with the person who adds or restores material. Now if he was accused of criminal activity like raping or assaulting and groping someone, then it might deserve a separate large subsection. Right now it's just one view that got notoriety. But it's hardly as well known as his book and it seems people keep trying to delete info on that, doesn't it??
See also Wikipedia:NPOV#Article_structure: Segregation of text or other content into different regions or subsections, based solely on the apparent POV of the content itself, may result in an unencyclopedic structure, such as a back-and-forth dialogue between proponents and opponents.[1] It may also create an apparent hierarchy of fact where details in the main passage appear "true" and "undisputed", whereas other, segregated material is deemed "controversial", and therefore more likely to be false. Try to achieve a more neutral text by folding debates into the narrative, rather than isolating them into sections that ignore or fight against each other.
See the footnote #1: Article sections devoted solely to criticism, and pro-and-con sections within articles, are two commonly cited examples. There are varying views on whether and to what extent such structures are appropriate; see guidance on thread mode, criticism, pro-and-con lists, and the criticism template. User:Carolmooredc 20:31, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Putting a subsection under a subsection to highlight controversy, as you did, is just as unnecessary as moving the whole section back into its own section. It really is edit warring to try to keep using slightly different methods to accomplish same goal others already have objected to. I've tagged it and brought it up at ongoing BLPN discussion on this an related articles. User:Carolmooredc 12:37, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Given the failure to respond to BLP Policy problems with the unnecessary sectioning, a well as the section title, I have removed it. 13:43, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Stossell:Doing a show inspired by Block is about Block, etc.[edit]

At this diff User: Specifico removes the sentence "Stossel wrote in 2011 that the book "inspired" one of his recent Fox Business Network programs." The article was written by Stossel in Reason. If someone says subject of BLP "inspired" them to write or produce something, it shows the subject has inspired someone. If someone notable wrote "Walter Block's book inspired me to (engage in some criminal enterprise)" I'm sure most editors also would have no problem with putting that in the article. It's certainly more about him than adding a bunch of statistics that don't mention him but happen to counter something he said or wrote, i.e., it's not WP:OR like adding the statistics. User:Carolmooredc 04:00, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

William Shakespeare *inspired* Quentin Tarantino to direct movies. Fact. Do you want to add Quentin to the Bard's bio? I don't. And Tarantino is a lot more notable guy than Stossel and his work is higher grossing than Fox Business Network. If Walter Cronkite said it, maybe. Stossel? I don't think so. SPECIFICO talk 04:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Carol that the statistics claim needs an RS directly addressing Block's mistaken view of the wage gap. I agree with SPECIFICO that Stossel's personal story is of little consequence this article. Steeletrap (talk) 07:35, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Given lack of details about content of show and if and how many times it mentioned Block, I won't debate that point further. However, SPECIFICO also removed Stossel praise for Block's book. I know how found a better, longer, more easily verified Stossel opinion piece praising Block. Hopefully that will not be removed too. User:Carolmooredc 13:37, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
OK, SPECIFICO removed ref because from a syndicate that does not exercise editorial control; I do believe this was the article that formerly was refed by a publication. And Reason does use the phrase "eye opening" and it has allowed Stossel to say the article is "eye opening." And therefore it opens the door to merely list that as "For more of Stossel's personal opinion." Plus of course other places may have used that article yet to be found. User:Carolmooredc 15:47, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
No. Specifico reverted and cited RS as the rationale. But RS is not the issue. There is no reason to doubt the RS nature of Creators, as syndicates in general distribute material, they do not publish the material. (In a sense they serve as an agency like the Associated Press.) In any event, the Creators piece was by Stossell, he is notable, and the portion cited here was pertinent to the article. – S. Rich (talk) 15:58, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Srich First, I have left a note on this matter on your talk page. Second: Per your argument above referring to the publisher not the distibutor, the piece should be cited to a published version. Third, it's really important to stick to BRD on matters likely to be disputed. Your undo of my reversion, rather than a talk discussion per BRD, doesn't seem like the best approach here. Further comment on your talk page. SPECIFICO talk 16:06, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I think SPECIFICO will have to refer to some other discussion on his distinction between publisher and distributor. I don't think we can call syndicated columns self-published because if Stossel started writing really wacky stuff he'd get dropped. And it is an opinion piece, not a tome with 100 footnotes that should be peer reviewed :-) And since Block is both an economist and a popular figure, having a popularizer like Stossel talk about him is quite OK. Finally, I believe BRD applies to one person at a time, not different editors. User:Carolmooredc 16:14, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
<< I believe BRD applies to one person at a time, not different editors.>> Please review WP:BRD. SPECIFICO talk 16:37, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
And here is the comment Specifico left on my talk page:

Hi. What's the point of a re-insertion of something that's been challenged for valid cause? Arguing by analogy or comparison to King Features -- syndicators of Bugs Bunny cartoons and other entertainment content -- is not really responsive to the issue. The source Content.com is a promotional enterprise that places opinion or PR releases in various publications. Not the stuff of RS. And Stossel himself doesn't reflect well on what presumably is a scholarly work by an Eminent Endowed Scholar and Titan of economic thought. Anyway I think it's best to stick to BRD on these problematic articles, particularly when you personally have been second-guessed for edit-warring on North. "T-T-T-That's All Folks" Please undo your re-insertion and explain why Content.com is RS for this content on the article talk page. THANKS. SPECIFICO talk 15:57, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I had seen the discussion above, but missed the point about Specifico removing the Stossell piece. Most of it looks like a discussion on another topic. As to Specifico's comment to me, I have no idea what North means. That is, is there an analogy to editing on North that impacts Block or the discussion here. As for the particular Stossell edit, the impact of Block's work does not have to be scholarly. The issue as to Creative is not one of RS as stated above. I'm going to revert my edit, but I think we will end up with Stossell's commentary as being a worthwhile tid-bit. (And I'll look to see if the Stossel piece is in the book article.) – S. Rich (talk) 16:43, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
Rich, BRD only applies to an edit like that after yet another or maybe two editors start reverting it back and fourth. Not just the second revert. In any case, we might as well take it to WP:RSN since obviously it's already a stalemate. I'll think about it Sunday night if there's no resolution by then. User:Carolmooredc 17:02, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
@carolmooredc Please provide a link or cut and paste of the text in the WP:BRD page that states what you have written above. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 18:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I won't quote the whole thing. It starts talking about individuals and then it talks about at some undefined point when a bunch of individuals start reverting. How much is a bunch? 3 -4 -5? Don't know. Do you really want the policy to be someone takes you to WP:EW every time someone reverts material, another person reverts it back, and you revert it back again? I don't think so. But if you do I have several articles I can go back and find BRD violations right now in the last week on by someone not me... User:Carolmooredc 23:08, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate your conceding my point. Now, let's move on with the article. SPECIFICO talk 00:04, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
If I conceded your point I'd take a couple editors I know to WP:ANI right now for repeated violations of WP:BRD during the last 72 hours :-) User:Carolmooredc 00:13, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
I didn't realize that Reason had reprinted the whole Creators article; Specifico deleted both the debated and the valid info. Fixed now anyway. User:Carolmooredc 20:47, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Reverting NPOV language to misleading language[edit]

  • At this diff User:Specifco entered the misleading text saying Stossel "praised Block's defense of child labor, blackmail, and the sale of human body parts." I'd say that's misleading, pretty alarming and even inflammatory language to the average reader.
  • At the next diff I wrote in edit summary if we are going to mention specifics we must do in NPOV way that makes text clear not use as attack on 'two' BLPs) and changed it to "He wrote that Block's defended child labor as an alternative to starvation and child prostitution; blackmail as a free speech form of enforcing good behavior; and the sale of human body parts as a life-saving measure." This conforms to the text and provides more information about Block's best known book and that section does need more information.
  • At the next diff User:Specifico reverts it back. I'm sick of spending all my time reverting this problematic behavior so added this to the list of BLP violations at WP:BLPN. User:Carolmooredc 17:04, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Per WP:BLP I reverted back to my version. The language makes them both look like heinous monsters and guts needed explanations of his best known work. I'm pretty sure the edit will survive WP:Edit war for BLP reasons. User:Carolmooredc 17:37, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Your plea for an exemption from WP:EW is vacuous because you included none of your additional text until I added additional quoted language from Stossel. As a resolution, I would be comfortable leaving Stossel's piece out of the article entirely. However, it's not tabloid to state what Stossel said in his published opinion piece. If it is tabloid, then we should not be citing that blog to begin with. Also, please refer to content and related issues rather than to editors and your campaign to recruit others to your ad hominem attacks. There are other venues where you can air those feelings. SPECIFICO talk 17:33, 4 August 2013 (UTC)

I've removed the lines about blackmail, etc. Stossel wasn't talking about what Block wrote, only that the book was eye-opening, etc. The actual stuff on the topics is from the interviews with Boaz, et al. (Thus, there is no distortion – either way – at present.) – S. Rich (talk) 18:18, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Found the Fox News Page finally. Actually it's an article that is a description of the show he did on Fox inspired by Block, including quotes from others. Since it's hard to separate out Stossel, probably not worth it. (I wonder if anyone will run to Gillespie and Boaz's pages and quote them as supporting child labor etc. :-)
But seriously, it would help to get description of content in there. That he inspired this Stossel show remains notable IMHO and that could use more opinions. Quoting Hayek would help, if that's not a lost cause. I have to look at my notes cause I may have other material haven't even got around to entering, knowing that trying to put in anything perceived as at all positive is a constant battle. User:Carolmooredc 18:53, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
I have already addressed the statements in your comment above, to wit: "William Shakespeare *inspired* Quentin Tarantino to direct movies. Fact. Do you want to add Quentin to the Bard's bio? I don't. And Tarantino is a lot more notable guy than Stossel and his work is higher grossing than Fox Business Network. If Walter Cronkite said it, maybe. Stossel? I don't think so. SPECIFICO talk 04:05, 2 August 2013 (UTC)" We can't be weaving a narrative of everyone who declares he was "inspired" by Block's writings. SPECIFICO talk 21:27, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
Are we using gross revenues to judge relevance, significance, and neutrality? – S. Rich (talk) 01:32, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I see no problem citing an editorialist who says they were inspired by this subject. If I understand correctly what this articles needs is more sources, not less?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:04, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
@Srich, why not address my question? Does Escoffier's bio state that his work inspired Paula Deen to do a TV episode on molasses-encrusted lima beans? SPECIFICO talk 13:03, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
I've looked through this but can't see what question you are referring to. – S. Rich (talk) 14:45, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Primary quote claim tag is about NPOV and WP:OR, not WP:RS[edit]

Wikipedia:BLP#Avoid_misuse_of_primary_sources reads: Where primary-source material has been discussed by a reliable secondary source, it may be acceptable to rely on it to augment the secondary source, subject to the restrictions of this policy, no original research, and the other sourcing policies.(Plus ref directing editors to exceptional claims.) Perhaps you could revert them if this policy makes sense to you?

Wikipedia editors are not supposed to decide what is the most notable thing said by a BLP. If you had read the versions before I cleaned them up, you'd understand why that can be a problem. [http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Walter_Block&oldid=567067884. Compare this problematic version on those sections] just before I did a thorough clean up which for the most part is the current version. I'm not calling for deleting them if secondary sources can be found, but it's just a low priority for me to find secondary sources right now with some personal stuff going on for a few days. Others should feel free. User:Carolmooredc 23:49, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Looks like you added several primary source citations between versions. At any rate, you're again misrepresenting the policy on primary sources and on the subject's own statements of the subject's own views. SPECIFICO talk 00:54, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I've never seen a WP:BLP "policy on primary sources and on the subject's own statements of the subject's own views." Please quote it or at least tell us what section it's in.
What I have seen talked about is a) secondary sources establishing the general notability and/or importance of a view as part of individuals writings and b) not cherry picking negative and/or out of context quotes and not doing a negative WP:OR interpretation of material.
In this article I rewrote sections that were cherry picked and made to look negative so they better reflected his views in an NPOV fashion, and added a few more refs to give a better overview. However, I think secondary sources for most of them could be found and thus left tags encouraging others to do it if I don't get a chance. Not to mention to discourage misuse of these sources.
I do think WP:BLP could use a sentence or two to clarify the point. Why not suggest it at the BLP talk page? If you don't get a chance in next couple weeks, I will, quoting you above. Thanks. User:Carolmooredc 05:37, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Removal of Harvard undergrad publication[edit]

An undergraduate publication, whether a magazine on politics/economics or a term paper, is not an RS for economics. I recognize that students at Harvard College are better than most, but they are still college kids whose highest level of educational attainment is a high school diploma. Steeletrap (talk) 19:00, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

People keep trying to re-add this without discussion. My question: If this were any other university, would we accept an undergraduate magazine as an economics RS? Presumably economics RS must have advanced (almost certainly graduate) degrees in econ, and have published in academic journals. Harvard undergraduates have (almost certainly) not published in (non-undergrad) econ journals, and have no higher degree than a high school diploma. The people writing for this magazine need not even be economics majors. This is not RS for economics. Steeletrap (talk) 23:44, 28 December 2013 (UTC)
Take it to WP:RSN. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 13:51, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I agree: if you believe this source is reliable, you really should take it to RSN. MilesMoney (talk) 14:21, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Harvard Political Review RS[edit]

re this revert. High quality student publications usually are considered WP:RS. What is the excuse for removal? Seems to me it was taken off another article recently also. Will keep eyes open. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 18:28, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Please do not disparage the motives of other editors. I believe the reason for this edit was clearly stated in the edit summary. SPECIFICO talk 19:42, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Excuse/reason/rationale. Don't remove something that is not a clear and obnoxious personal attack that one obviuosly would be blocked for. Edit summaries are not sufficient discussion per WP:BRD Don't assume that an edit summary can constitute "discussion". Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 19:56, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
Don't play with words. I did not say there had been discussion. I said that the reverting editor clearly stated her reason. You are again violating the Pillar of Civility by misrepresenting what I just said above. You should strike your misrepresntation. If you cannot control your recidivist behavior I will seek enforcement per Community Sanctions. SPECIFICO talk 20:13, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
And I didn't say you had said there was discussion. I summarized and then quoted what BRD says. If the quote is ambiguous to you discuss it at the WP:BRD page. And don't mischaracterize good faith attempts to discuss policy. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 20:51, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
A publication written and edited by undergraduates, many of whom are not even econ majors (Al Gore was founded/editor in chief) is not an RS for economics. RS would be a journal edited by trained social scientists. People are investing far too much in the word "Harvard"; substitute "south dakota state" and no one is making this argument. Steeletrap (talk) 17:07, 30 December 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Better late than never, bring stalled discussion To RSN. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 01:02, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Is Block WP:NOTABLE ?[edit]

This article is almost entirely sourced to affiliated references and there does not seem to be any content which clearly supports the WP notability criteria. SPECIFICO talk 17:23, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

Either I never went to Highbeam before or they added a bunch of new entries of Block being discussed by mainstream publications. So many articles, so little time to beef them all up. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 18:21, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
If you're saying that WB is notable, please state under what policy criterion and for what achievement(s) he is notable and which sources verify such notability. I presume that an editor of your long participation here knows that a list of publications is not per se the test of notability. SPECIFICO talk 19:35, 29 December 2013 (UTC)
I disagree with SPECIFICO. While he is not a notable academic, Block is notable as a libertarian anarchist polemicist and provocateur. See for instance the [[Times-Picayune]] coverage of the "furor" he ignited throughout his university by alleging that blacks and women are paid less than white men solely because they are less productive. He provided no data whatsoever in support of his claims. (although, to be fair, the Misesians don't claim to use evidence in their "economics"; like 1+1=2, lower female and black productivity is an a logical axiom that is discerned deductively, without any testing or evidence. Steeletrap (talk) 06:41, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
This doesn't hurt: John Gray in "Hayek on Liberty" talks about Hayek's "endorsement" of Defending the Undefendable - here. Will add to both relevant articles later today. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 16:28, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm not familiar with the misogynist stuff, but in the Gray source, Gray states his speculation as to Hayek's state of mind upon writing the promo for Blocks book. It's obvious that is not something we can use as a statement of fact. Even if Gray were an expert psychologist or neurologist that would not be admissible for our purposes here. SPECIFICO talk 17:32, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
"Gray states his speculation as to Hayek's state of mind." Just reread the page. Don't see that in the source. Please explain. Thanks. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 20:28, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
You'll need to read the sentence more carefully. It refers to Hayek's state of mind. Have a careful look and report back to HQ. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 20:36, 30 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't see that in any one sentence or the whole paragraph. What I do see is this. Please make your point explicit. I guess I can always go to editor's assistance otherwise and see if some friendly editor can explain your point to me. Or get you to explain it to them? Thanks. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 01:09, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
The TE link does not mean that you can ask other editors to explain your own sources to you, carolmordc. To repeat myself: Your proposed source is stating an opinion as to the "spirit" in which Hayek said whatever. That's not RS about Block's book, and without further information, neither does it appear to be RS about Hayek's spirit. SPECIFICO talk 02:56, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Hayek quote and Gray issue at WP:RSN[edit]

Per SPECIFICO's suggestion. Got distracted by all the AfDs, etc of last three weeks. Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Hayek_info_RS_for_same_two_articles.3F. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 03:23, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Twice publicly admonished by college's president[edit]

For making empirical claims without evidence. See here and here. This should probably go in the article, as it is highly atypical. Steeletrap (talk) 05:40, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Of course, there are two sides to each story: Tom Woods. Fortunately, WP:BALANCE and WP:IMPARTIAL will motivate editors to evaluate the RS dispassionately and present it properly. – S. Rich (talk) 05:48, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
There also has been considerable controversy in response to Block's remark to the New York Times that, apart from its being involuntary, slavery in the U.S. "was not so bad -- you pick cotton and sing songs". Block claims to have been libeled and taken out of context, though he concedes he said the quoted phrase. Dozens of faculty members at his university have called for his censure. Block has responded by threatening to sue the New York Times. Despite his previous writings against defamation law, he claims that such a suit would be compatible with libertarian principles because the Times is a "major mouthpiece for the state."
Block's threat has been mocked in the media, since he was quoted accurately.) Steeletrap (talk) 05:59, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
All this should be added to the article immediately -- the NYT piece, admonition by his colleagues and Loyola U Pres for making claims without evidence, Block's response, the claim of libel and threatened lawsuit, etc. Steeletrap (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
No, it should not be added immediately. WP is WP:NOTNEWS. We also have to consider the blog aspects of this dispute. Give the brew-ha-ha time to resolve, and then we can describe the dispute with some perspective. – S. Rich (talk) 06:10, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────@Srich32977: are you suggesting that Woods' self-published blog is RS to use as a source for statements about Block in Block's WP:BLP? SPECIFICO talk 13:02, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

No, of course not. (You've never known me to make such a suggestion.) The Woods piece serves to alert editors to look more closely at this controversy. – S. Rich (talk) 15:32, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

The fact that his colleague at the Mises Institute is the only voice taking Blocks side is hardly alerting us to anything new. There's also no reason to table this merely because it's recent. We should not give it undue emphasis in the article, but it is noteworthy and an appropriately sourced section of appropriate tone and length can go in the article now. Would you like to draft such an edit? SPECIFICO talk 16:02, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
These remarks, sadly, illustrate a poor analysis of the contentious material. Wildes writes as if Block had made the remarks himself in the NYT piece. In fact, we have Tananhaus' quip and one sentence which Tananhaus attributes to Block (without citation) – but we have no context with which to evaluate Block's "remarks". To be accurate, Wildes should have said "Tananhaus says that Block said...". (The fact that Tananhaus has provided the quips is not mentioned by Wildes. Indeed, the Block stuff is but one tangential paragraph in the much longer piece about Rand Paul.) Do the Wildes letters directly support the contention that Block said this stuff? No. (What is WP going to say? "According to Wildes, Tananhaus said that Block said ....") Next, but less importantly, Wildes is submitting letters to the editor. This makes them problematic in terms of SPS/NEWSBLOG. Op-Ed pieces can be used with caution, but reader letters "to the editor" are not. Thirdly, we have Block himself contradicting the assertions by Wildes and offering an olive branch because of the misunderstanding. So, overall, this is contentious BLP material. And as I said earlier, there is no need to immediately put this stuff into the Project, if at all. – S. Rich (talk) 18:46, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Rich, we would include Block's claim that the comment was taken out of context and that he was "defamed." However, Block did say the quoted remarks, as he himself concedes. If you ask me, Block is committing a straw-man fallacy in his op-ed; no one accused him of favoring slavery. They objected to his belief that slavery was "not so bad" apart from its being involuntary. This ignores sociological factors such as racism, in favor of a narrow and naive conception of libertarian "freedom." (such naivete and dogmatism is showcased in Block's support for the 'right' of Woolsworth to ban blacks from its lunch counters. As Richard Epstein, an eminent legal scholar (and libertarian) at NYU has noted, segregation was a highly-valued consumer good in the South, and the gov was necessary to desegregate. Block either is ignorant of this or doesn't care, because his floating abstraction ("Non-Aggression Principle") must always take precedent over the real world.))— Preceding unsigned comment added by Steeletrap (talkcontribs)
These remarks from The Maroon are not acceptable RS. (And please don't take my opening comment as an endorsement that Wildes' comments are acceptable. I'm saying his comments must be evaluated.) His letters to the editor of the student run newspaper are repeats of repeated comments from the NYT and do NOT directly support anything encyclopedic. It doesn't matter if Block "concedes" he said the words. The words cannot be taken/quoted out of context and be used in Wikipedia. The suggestion that we repeat Wildes' repeat of Tananhaus' repeat and add them to the article is appalling. – S. Rich (talk) 19:59, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
We also have Block's LewRockwell.com article on the matter. It is not unfair to quote the New York Times and Block's university president/colleagues if we cover Block's response. It's a bonafide controversy, which like the previous one regarding the wage gap, revolves around accusations of poor scholarship. Steeletrap (talk) 20:14, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
We do not need to consider LR.Com, or Block's Maroon comment, or various other rebutal letters because Wildes' comments, from the get-go, is not acceptable Wikipedia material. Nor is Tananhaus' "quotation" of Block because we do not see the context in which the original comments were made. – S. Rich (talk) 20:33, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
This borders on tendentious editing. We have Block's response; we can present the full context of the quote as he saw it. The NYT is RS. The scandal is notable. All of this meets notability and RS muster and would improve the article. Steeletrap (talk) 20:43, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Writeup in NYT opinion piece[edit]

In this edit, the New York Times opinion piece (IMO, not article) and related articles/material has been removed. As this article is a BLP and subject to Sanctions, I suggest that editors wishing to restore the material or remove the material state their ground here IOT meet their WP:BURDEN. (The Discussion phase of BRD is now open.) – S. Rich (talk) 18:03, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Regarding my removal of this material put in by Steeletrap. Problems with this material was discussed from every angle ad nauseam 6 weeks ago in Arbitration, where Steeletrap wrote here: "I have no desire to insert this in the Block article." But here it is. Problems:
  • This section doesn't summarize sources as much as it synthesizes an argument against Block from the source. How many times have we referred editors to WP:Synth to understand this difference? How many times have we tediously explained it?
  • "and for no other reason." WP:OR that assumes that the Times reporters accurately conveyed all the reasons that Block discussed.
There is a way to present the material in an NPOV and accurate way, including other comments that Block has written to give it a full and balanced presentation according to BLP and NPOV, but this is not it. Carolmooredc (Talkie-Talkie) 18:59, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Srich, it's not up to your "opinion" to call a NY Times story written by staff reporters in the news section, an "an opinion piece" -- as if even Times editorials are not fact checked. WP takes a dim view of removal of RS sourced content, and you should not be removing it without consensus. Your usual claims of bad sourcing or misinterpretation do not apply here. Perhaps you're too accustomed to asserting them and didn't stop to consider your action. I urge you to reinstate the content and take NY Times to RSN if you so choose. 23:47, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

My opinion is simply mine. I'm not saying the piece should be described as an op-ed. (And Tanenhaus is a writer-at-large, not staff – but, like my opinion, that is a minor point.) It was Steeletrap who first added the material and Carolmooredc who removed it. I opened the BRD to discuss the material. So, if Steeletrap feels it should be included, Steeletrap should speak up. We already have something from Carolmooredc, who says SYNTH & "fallacious and defamatory interpretation bordering...." [edit summary]. Well, to continue the discussion, the problem with the WP segment is the combination of quotes & paraphrases that serve to put Block in a bad light. It started "A January 2014 article in the New York Times noted that Block opposed slavery because it was involuntary. However, the Times piece also quoted him as saying, apart from its involuntary nature, slavery was “not so bad — you pick cotton and sing songs.”" Just who is adding the "However" and why? We have editors picking out material from material that has already been cherry-picked. As stated from get-go of this subjection, editors who wish to add this material should justify it. – S. Rich (talk) 00:18, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Srich, one of the most fundamental principles of editing WP is that we do not remove well-sourced factual content. The sourcing of this small bit of content was as good as it gets. Fact-checked NY Times article. You deleted the text based on your "IMO" opinion. You should put it back. Thanks. SPECIFICO talk 00:25, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Actually, we remove sourced content all the time, even when it is well-sourced and factual. WP:UNDUE and WP:BALANCE and WP:BLPFIGHT are reasons to remove IOT achieve NPOV. In this case we have a problem with verification. That is, the NYT piece paints Block in a pro-slavery/anti-desegregation light, which Block forcefully denies. (Therefore, can we use it to say or imply that Block is pro-slavery/anti-desegregation? No. Is it up to us to parse out which version is correct? No.) Because this is a BLP, we must steer clear of this contentious material. It qualifies as poorly sourced because it is denied by Block (and others) and is tangential material (as the NYT piece is about Rand Paul). My opinion about the piece as an opinion piece is not relevant – I removed it because we have been in the Discussion phase of BRD. I will not put it back until we have a consensus to keep it. – S. Rich (talk) 17:16, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
The Times piece makes clear that Block opposes slavery but favors the right to segregate. While Block claims to have been quoted out of No non-affiliated sources have questioned the accuracy of the report, and the Times fact-check team did not redact or modify the quotation despite Block's prompting (which anyone who reads the Times knows they are good about doing). We also publish Block's claim that he was quoted out of context. We reiterate his opposition to slavery, which (per his own words) he only opposes because of the non-aggression principle; we also emphasize his support for the right to segregate along racial lines. Inside Higher Ed has also covered the story. We have multiple, high-quality RS and it's disappointing that you insist on cleansing it from the article just because it's politically incorrect. Block's views on slavery and segregation are implied by the non-aggression principle. There is nothing wrong with those views. Block is not bashful about expressing them. Please revert your removal of this amply well-sourced material. Steeletrap (talk) 18:01, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Let's get this straight. The material was Boldly added, and it was Reverted. I did not do the first reversion. But I did open the Discussion. Well, without participation in the Discussion, the material was Boldly added again, and I Reverted. In any event, the Discussion is continuing. But to characterize my editing as "cleansing" does not help in the discussion. Even so, as per the policies & guidance cited above (BLPFIGHT, etc), the material is problematic. While the NYT piece talks about Rand Paul, the only explicit mention of Block by name is found when it partially quotes (twice) his "...not so bad..." statement. (This very selective direct attribution has the makings of a hatchet-job on Block.) The way the NYT is presented is problematic in another aspect. The second sentence starts off with "However,...". Per WP:EDITORIALIZING – "More subtly, editorializing can produce implications not supported by the sources. Words such as but, however, and although may imply a relationship between two statements where none exists, perhaps inappropriately undermining the first or giving undue precedence to the credibility of the second.". These problems indicate the piece needs re-writing rather than simple reinstatement. – S. Rich (talk) 00:23, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I am happy to drop the term "however", though I am baffled as to how you think it is being put to nefarious use in this context. So we have settled on the following version: "A January 2014 article in the New York Times noted that Block opposed slavery because it was involuntary. The Times piece also quoted him as saying, apart from its involuntary nature, slavery was “not so bad — you pick cotton and sing songs.”" Then we have Block's reply and then we have the Inside Higher Ed report.
If you think he's being misrepresented, why not just expand on Block's response? Surely if the 'libel' is as clear cut as the paleo-libertarians (as opposed to the journalists) say it is, presenting Block's arguments in the article will exonerate him. However, there is no policy-based justification for purging reliably-sourced, noteworthy material from the article. I am concerned that your political affinity for Block, rather than policy, is guiding your editing of the article. Steeletrap (talk) 03:33, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
No, I don't think we've settled on any version. 1. CMDC may want to comment, but may be observing the voluntary TBAN until the ArbCom is resolved. 2. The BLPFIGHT issues are not addressed. 2.a. Consider, what does the NYT piece really come down to? Block is a libertarian, and as such opposes slavery. (But the NYT cherry-picked a bit of his discussion to make it seem like he's a hypocrite.) 2.b. Block, as a libertarian, also dislikes government interfering with personal associations, and so he "oppose[s] Jim Crow laws that barred people from serving black and white people at the same counter....." But is this aspect the InsideHigher piece included? No. Instead the piece characterizes him as someone "who defends segregation". 3. There is no way to present this material in a non-slanted/NPOV manner. NYT gets reduced to "Block opposes slavery" and Inside gets reduced to "Block opposes government action to enforce segregation or desegregation." 4. Wow, what a NPOV/Balanced insight into the thinking of a libertarian! – S. Rich (talk) 05:10, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Where oh where is the misrepresentation? Block is against slavery, but only because it's involuntary. For Block, the life of a slave is 'not so bad' insofar as being over-worked and subject to racism does not violate the non-aggression principle. The only problem with slavery -- the reason Block is such a vociferous opponent of it -- is that the slaves could not quit. As for segregation, racial or otherwise, of course Block defends the right to practice it. He believed that Woolsworth was in the right in excluding blacks from its lunch counters. This makes sense if you understand the non-aggression principle, and how the civil rights activists who were 'sitting in' violated it. The non-aggression principle implies the absolute legitimacy of segregation so long as it is not government imposed, as the Jim Crow laws were. Property owners can discriminate as much as they want in the free society. (see Hoppe on this) Why are you afraid of these positions?
And libertarianism is a simplistic ideology! Block's positions on the issues neatly follow from the non-aggression principle. His simplicity and clarity are one of Block's chief virtues -- they are part of his intellectual inheritance from Rothbard. Steeletrap (talk) 06:01, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Your concern about adequately expressing Block's nuanced views is noted. But purging the entire controversy doesn't accomplish that. Instead, I suggest you expand the article to include Block's opposition to Jim Crow laws alongside his support for the "right" of Woolsworth to ban blacks from its lunch counters. Steeletrap (talk) 06:07, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Rich, you are concerned about taking the quotation out of context. However, we have the entire Block quotation, thanks to LewRockwell.com, RS.
“Free association is a very important aspect of liberty. It is crucial. Indeed, its lack was the major problem with slavery. The slaves could not quit. They were forced to ‘associate’ with their masters when they would have vastly preferred not to do so. Otherwise, slavery wasn’t so bad. You could pick cotton, sing songs, be fed nice gruel, etc. The only real problem was that this relationship was compulsory. It violated the law of free association, and that of the slaves’ private property rights in their own persons. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, then, to a much smaller degree of course, made partial slaves of the owners of establishments like Woolworths." Later, Block remarks that "the only thing horrid about actual slavery was that it violated the NAP. Otherwise, apart from that one thing, slavery was innocuous: you could pick cotton in the healthy outdoors, sing songs, they would give you gruel, etc." Again, his own words are consistent with the Times' interpretation and the content I added.
Where is the misrepresentation in the Times piece or in my addition to the article? Would you be placated if we quoted the entire paragraph? Steeletrap (talk) 06:15, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
The best Wikipedian method of presenting the subject (Block's views / libertarian views) would be as part of the articles on slavery, racial segregation, non-aggression principle, libertarian perspectives on slavery, etc. (In those articles the simplistic/nuanced views can be explained.) As it stands, these articles do not exist or are inadequate. (As a resource, Ronald Hamowy's Encyclopedia of Libertarianism has 6 long pages on slavery, 2 on racism, and 2 on nonagression.) But another, also important, aspect of this particular problem is the controversial nature/manner in which the contentious material is presented. The NYT article is about Rand Paul. It goes into his connection with Mises.org. As part of the description of Mises.org, controversial aspects of Block's comments are mentioned. (WP:CONTEXTMATTERS.) In this regard, it is opinionated and fraught with WP:BLPFIGHT problems. Seeking or suggesting that we import the full give-and-take of the dispute into Wikipedia is problematic. – S. Rich (talk) 17:12, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
It is your OR that it is opinionated. This is not supported by mainstream sources. It is not an opinion piece (do you read newspapers?) but a report by reporters for the news section. 17 of Block's colleagues at Loyola, and the President of his university, condemned him for this. It is a major controversy that should not be whitewashed. Instead, we should work together to present both sides of the controversy (the paleolibertarian side versus everyone else). Steeletrap (talk) 17:39, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
Moreover it's a simple misrepresentation of fact and WP policy to assert that WP references may only be used to support statements concerning the title or principle subject of the source. For example, we use books on higher education to support article text about specific universities. Similar examples are to be found in every well-developed WP article. Serial denial of RS text based on a litany of tenuous or demonstrably false rationales leads nowhere. SPECIFICO talk 18:26, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
I too have no idea where Rich gets the notion that an article can only be used as a source about its main point. The majority of WP would disappear overnight if that were adopted as policy. Steeletrap (talk) 18:31, 1 April 2014 (UTC)
In general the effect of such a practice would be to compromise the balance, context, and neutrality of sources and articles. It's clear that would be particularly problematic for articles of less notable subjects (Block being an example) which, unlike e.g. Leonardo da Vinci or even Charlie Chaplin, do not have hundreds of published references devoted solely to the subject. And that's even before we try to parse the next question: Is an article about Chaplin's costume RS for statements about his coiffure, or a book about Leonardo's drawings RS for a statement concerning his students. Fortunately, there is no such constraint. SPECIFICO talk 18:48, 1 April 2014 (UTC)